February 10, 2016 / 12:16 AM / 2 years ago

Forensic team finds remains in Mexico dump, but no sign of 43 students

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Argentine forensics experts said on Tuesday they had found the remains of 19 people in a dump in southwestern Mexico where the government claimed 43 missing students were incinerated in 2014, but no sign of the students.

The student teachers disappeared in the southwestern city of Iguala in September 2014, in an incident that sparked an international outcry over human rights abuse, forced disappearances and killings committed with impunity in Mexico.

The government originally said the students were abducted by corrupt police officers who handed them over to a local drug gang. Gang members killed the students and destroyed their bodies in a bonfire in the dump in the nearby town of Cocula, according to that official account.

However, a 2015 report by an international panel of experts severely questioned the government’s account, rejecting the central claim that the students were incinerated in the dump. So far, the remains of only one of the 43 students has been positively identified.

The Argentine forensic report, which is unable to shed light on the unsolved mystery of where the students might be, further undermines the government’s handling of one of the most notorious crimes of Mexico’s recent drug-scarred history.

“Until now, the EAAF (Team of Argentine Forensic Anthropology) has not found scientific evidence to establish any link between the remains recovered in the Cocula dump and the missing students,” the report said.

After combing the site, the Argentine team found various teeth and bone fragments of 19 different people, ranging between 15 and 38 years of age.

The southwestern state of Guerrero, where the incident took place, is one of the most violent regions of the country, with various drug gangs fighting over control of a growing opium-smuggling business.

Drug-related violence has taken the lives of more than 100,000 people in Mexico since 2007.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Tom Brown

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